Students to live the deam Friday

by Mark Pleiss

Freshman Omar Padilla says Simpson’s few minority studentsaren’t active enough, and they’re blending into the apatheticmainstream because of it.

But Padilla is trying to change that.

Through the Office of Student Development, Padilla has built theOunce of Doing Discrimination Awareness Committee. His group waspicked over a dozen others to represent Simpson as the charity tocarry out the second year of the Ounce of Learning Campaign.

“There aren’t very many minorities here at Simpson,” saidPadilla, a Hispanic student.

“I knew if I came to Simpson, I’d be active and would try to bea voice for change. I want to practice my culture and raiseawareness of other cultures,” Padilla said.

Simpson officials have handed Padilla’s group a $1,000 grant tohelp further its mission. Most of that money will be spent March19, when the Ounce of Doing Discrimination Awareness Committeehosts a march from Simpson’s campus to Indianola’s courthousesquare.

Walter Lain, assistant dean for multicultural and internationalaffairs, said he is excited to see the project come together and isworking with Padilla to make the day a success.

“The Ounce of Doing projects carry the principles of MartinLuther King Jr. and put them into action,” Lain said. “Our biggestgoal is to show students a larger community and respect ourdifferences. We’re trying to live King’s dream.”

The march will entail speeches by a variety of communityleaders, Simpson’s Jazz Band and Pom-Pom Squad, food provided bylocal Indianola businesses and an authentic Latino dance troupefrom Des Moines.

“We’re putting together a wide variety of entertainment so wecan cover many aspects of discrimination,” Padilla said.

“We want to promote discrimination awareness of homosexuals,African Americans, Latinos and other groups discriminated bysociety,” Padilla said.

Among the speakers who will be present are Ako Abdul-Samad, amember of the Des Moines School Board and founder of CreativeVisions in Des Moines; Felipe Gallardo, member of the Pep Club inDes Moines that helps minorities and low income families; aminister from Trinity United Methodist Church and perhaps IndianolaMayor Jerry Kelly.

Currently, Padilla and Lain are organizing the event andspending the grant on promoting the event by sending letters tomajor businesses and organizations at Simpson in search ofsupport.

But, they especially want students to attend the rally and lendtheir support before and after the event.

“This is an effort of the college to reach out and celebrate ourdifferences,” Lain said.

“We’re celebrating the efforts of eradicating the ‘isms’ withinour society. Students need to realize we have to be active in ourgovernment for it to work, and this is a great time to do it,” Lainsaid.

Padilla said he sees the day as a chance for all minorities tocome out and celebrate what makes them unique while improvingSimpson at the same time.

“This is a chance for us to do something good in the community,”Padilla said. “I really hope it turns out well.”